Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Interview: Kimo Leopoldo

As one of mixed martial arts’ original pioneers, Kimo “Therapy” Leopoldo continues be an innovator. Spearheading a fresh approach to the business, Leopoldo’s experience and shear tenacity are translating into one of the best opportunities in the country for up-and-coming fighters. Along with savvy businessman Ron Kort, together they enter the age of New Era Fighting.

Q. I’m very curious Kimo, how did the deal with New Era Fighting come about?
A. The owner, Ron Kort, and I are old friends. We began talking one day and realized we had similar thoughts about the MMA industry. We felt that the sport was becoming too political, and there was no justice for both the competitors or the audience. And honestly, we think they deserve to know the truth. So far, no one else has stepped up and shown they really care about the fighters and the fans.

Q. How does the NEF differ from other MMA organizations?
A. The NEF is different on many levels. First of all, we will take 50% of the gate and divide the remaining money between the fighters. It’s like they have an equity stake in the company and we believe this will instill pride in them. Unlike most organizations, we are taking a non-greedy approach. There’s a lot of money in MMA and we want to share it with the fighters. They are the ones putting it on the line for us.

Secondly, we are going to have competitors that you can get to know and follow. We will have the same violence in the ring as MMA, but with characters like you see in wrestling. Guess you could say it’s WWE meets MMA. NEF is not just brutal fighting, it’s sports entertainment as well.

Also, our rules will ensure that the matches are action-packed so the fights don’t get boring like the UFC has become. You know, if you lose a few fights in the UFC, you’re basically out. But with the NEF, win, lose, or draw, you still have a place to fight.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the World’s Toughest Man Contest that the NEF is running?
A. Our first event will be a three day tournament where we will be looking for fighters to sign on to the organization. The winner of the tournament will be presented a belt, and then go on to face me in a winner take all match, with a purse of $1 million.

This is unprecedented in the MMA industry. Everyone is welcome to come to the tryouts. The only requirement is to weigh 205lb or more. This is a great opportunity for new fighters.

(Continue Reading)

No comments: